Sunday at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis was all about the thoroughbreds at the top of the leaderboard going into the final round of the PGA Championship. Two-time U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka held a 54-hole lead, but the pack chasing him entering Sunday was filled with current top stars and former major winners.
Chief among those in the hunt is Tiger Woods, who started the day four back at 8-under, but a front-nine 32 brought him to 11-under and just two back of Koepka at the top as he made the turn. Woods managed that 3-under effort on the front without hitting a fairway in seven chances, still managing to make four birdies.
The final of those front nine birdies came on the ninth after he hooked a driving iron to the left on the cart path. After getting relief from the path he had to hit a huge hook from hard pan in order to get it anywhere close to the left hole location. What transpired was nothing short of vintage Tiger.
A decade ago, there would’ve been no doubt that the putt would’ve dropped, but in 2018 we have grown accustomed to the flashes of brilliance not being sustained from Woods. However, on Sunday, he was able to keep that magic going and pour in the putt to a massive roar.
That birdie moved him to 11-under, two back of Koepka at the time and on the 10th he finally found the middle of the fairway with a driver for the first time all day as he chases his 15th major championship.
That shot on nine was his second straight birdie after scrambling out of the gallery to the left, as he had to smash a 3-wood out of the fans on the eighth, running it into the bunker where he hit a beautiful shot to have a tap-in birdie.
His second on the ninth might only be his second best shot of the day, as his tee shot on the third was a magnificent little cut that nearly found the hole for an ace that would’ve sent the golf world into pandemonium.
Woods was dialed in with the irons early, and while his efforts off the tee with long irons and the driver were fairly pitiful, that ball-striking and quality scrambling kept him in the hunt — like this dart at the second that led to his first birdie of the day.